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Game 3 Preview: Iowa at Kalamazoo

Friday, October 28th
Game 3 Preview: Iowa at Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo, MI – The Iowa Heartlanders take to the road for their first trip outside Iowa this regular season Friday at 6:00 p.m. at Kalamazoo. The Heartlanders and K-Wings face off 11 times this season. This is the first of four games in Michigan.Iowa is looking for its first win of the season after dropping a pair of games against Idaho Oct. 21-22. Saturday vs. the Steelheads, the Landers pulled within one in the final 80 seconds of the game, but an empty-netter from Jordan Kawaguchi prevented the Heartlanders from tying in a 6-4 loss. Jake Smith scored twice, part of a run where the Heartlanders scored three consecutive goals in the second and third period.The Heartlanders are playing a road three-in-three, a stretch of games where they will play three games in three days in three cities. After Friday's game, the team visits Cincinnati (Saturday) and Wheeling (Sunday).Iowa plays eight of its next ten on the road starting tonight, with only two home games before Thanksgiving.Broadcast Coverage: Watch on flohockey.tv. Listen on mixlr.com/goheartlanders  Affiliates: Iowa Heartlanders (Minnesota Wild/Iowa Wild) | Kalamazoo Wings (Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters)Opening Weekend Building BlocksDespite dropping the first two games of the season, the Heartlanders are a +2 goal differential in the second period. Saturday vs. Idaho, Jake Smith scored his first goal of the game in the second. In the first game of the campaign, Kevin Conley got on the board in the middle period.Smith, who is the team's leading returning scorer with 25 goals, tallied twice in the Saturday defeat. He has registered five multi-goal games with the Heartlanders. Those multi-goal efforts have come over his last 43 ECHL games played.Making sense of the all the roster moves The Heartlanders have already been faced with a number of early-season roster moves, many of which have come in the last four days.Matthew Boucher earned a PTO with AHL Belleville, Hunter Jones was reassigned to the Iowa Wild. Meanwhile, the club signed two netminders, Bailey Brkin and Conor O’Brien, defenseman Brendan Less and forward Jake Durflinger.  Scouting the K-Wings Joel Martin is in his first season as ECHL Head Coach after serving as the Wings’ assistant coach from 2018-22. Martin replaced Nick Bootland, who moved to the AHL as an assistant coach with Hershey. Bootland was the K-Wings Head Coach from 2008-22. Martin is the second coach in the Wings’ ECHL history (Kalamazoo joined the ECHL in 2009).The team has brought back a notable group of core returners to ease the transition. Justin Taylor is on the precipice of becoming the K-Wings all-time goals leader and is currently two behind Kevin Schamehorn and Mike Wanchuk (239 goals each) for the squad record. On the blue line, the club returns Tyler Rockwell, Colin Saccoman, Jeremy Masella, Justin Murray, Ryan Cook and Olivier LeBlanc. Trevor Gorsuch led the Wings in wins and games last season and is one of the anchors between the pipes this season.